my design manifesto

Hey, friends. I’ve been thinking a lot about Elizabeth Monical Design lately – where we’ve been, what we’re doing and where we want to be 10 years down the road. As a result, my brain is on overload. Before any of it slips away, I’m writing it down for two reasons: 1) To remain true to who I am as a designer and a person, and 2) so I can share it with you.

So here it is, my design manifesto. It’s slightly scary to put it out there, but it’s also empowering. At the end of the day, honesty is the way to go – it makes me sleep better.


  • Am emotional.
  • Look for similarities in taste.
  • Need to understand where you’re coming from so I can find solutions to your problems.
  • Care about how products and finishes function over time.
  • Am not afraid to try something new just because it’s not familiar to me or our region of the country.

I want to:

  • Create a space that feels like your home – one that’s better than you ever imagined but still feels like you.
  • Make the design/build process a positive experience for everyone involved.
  • Collaborate with tons of design professionals so I can learn from each one.
  • Help my contractors devise new solutions to old design issues.

I don’t want to be your designer if:

  • You don’t understand the importance of the professional service I provide.
  • You consider my fees as “extra” and without benefit.
  • You want me to prove you wrong.
  • We don’t have compatible personalities.
  • You don’t care about the finished product, whatever that may be.

I will never:

  • Create a cookie-cutter product (there are no cookie-cutter clients).
  • Sell you overpriced furniture so I can make a great profit.

I will:

  • Be innovative in developing solutions to your problems.
  • Give you as many of the things on your wish list as possible.
  • Use pieces you love, including your family heirlooms.
  • Conduct research and search for product reviews.
  • Ease contractor headaches during the build process.
  • Encourage you to be adventurous and creative with me.

I want you to know:

  • I care deeply about your happiness.
  • It’s okay to ask questions.
  • A remodel is not easy or stress free.
  • Nothing goes smoothly or is done on time.
  • You will be opening your personal lives to people you don’t know. We will invade your space, your privacy and your sanity. It will be worth it in the end.
  • Midway through the process, you will hit an all-time low. You’ve spent time and money and still can’t see the results. Stay with me!
  • When construction is finished, you’ll be left with an empty and impersonal space. Let us finish it for you just like we planned – let us place the furniture and fixtures and accessories so you can see how everything works together.
  • Your space, if designed correctly, will alter your mood and ease your mind. It will carry over to other facets of your life – you’ll be happier and more relaxed, and you’ll treat others differently.

Thanks for reading (if you made it this far) – comments welcome! Until next time, I’ll be keeping an eye on design for you.

– EM


Vito Knows Flooring

Meet Vito, the newest member of the design team.

Don’t let his age (nine weeks this week) fool you – Vito knows flooring. This English Mastiff from Summersville, West Virginia, spends a lot of time on the ground, especially since he can’t climb stairs yet.

When he’s full grown, he’ll weigh as much as an adult human (between 140 and 200 pounds), so materials of substance are a big deal to Vito. So is color. He’s particularly fond of fawn, apricot and brindle (the colors of his breed) and is interested in creating his own paint line, but more on that later.

Vito’s first piece of flooring advice to share: consider vinyl plank flooring. Take a look at the following photos – one is vinyl, the other is wood. Can you tell which is which?

If you guessed the top one is wood, you’d be wrong. And if you guessed the bottom one is wood, you’d also be wrong. Ha! They’re both luxury vinyl plank flooring – really.

Gone is the time when vinyl was relegated to kitchens, bathrooms and other spaces that trap water, dirt and other gross stuff. Today’s vinyls are known for their durability, flexibility and water resistence, and they’re also easier to install. We use the term “luxury vinyl” to describe tiles or planks that mimic the look of wood or stone, including marble, slate and the the oh-so-revered travertine.

On the down side, it will show your floor’s imperfections because of how thin it is.


Give me a call, and we’ll take a trip to The Floor Club, one of my favorite design haunts and the latest entry in our Modern Omaha Directory. (Vito has to wait until he’s potty trained.) The Floor Club is a wholesale floor covering and window fashion showroom that caters to industry trade professionals only (that would be me). It’s got a vast selection of name brand products at wholesale pricing – I love taking my clients there when it’s time to talk floors:

Vivero from Armstrong Flooring

Messenia Travertine in Antiquity - I mean, come on!
Messenia Travertine in Antiquity – I mean, come on!

COREtec from US Floors

Boardwalk Oak from COREtec is one of Vito’s favorites.

Luxury vinyl sheets from Mannington Residential

Majesty "slate" in Dark Forest - dreamy!
Majesty “slate” in Dark Forest – dreamy!

Let’s go flooring!

Until next time, Vito and I will be keeping an eye on design for you.

– EM